Classified as independent contractors, app-based food delivery workers lacked certain benefits available to full employees and suffered from criminally low pay. But New York City has taken its first step in addressing this glaring issue.
Late last year, the city proposed its first minimum pay rate for food delivery workers who use apps like DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats. In March this year, the rule was revised so that once fully implemented in 2025, the minimum pay rate for food delivery workers would be $19.96 per hour.
While raising the minimum pay rate sounds straightforward enough, there are specifics about this decision that any food delivery worker will want to understand to protect their rights better.
Implications of the minimum pay raise
City officials have explained that the proposed $19.96 per hour minimum pay rate for app-based delivery workers is almost three times the amount they currently make. The amount also brings delivery workers’ pay in line with other workers who earn minimum wage and with the rideshare app drivers.
Starting this year, the minimum pay will initially be $17.96 an hour. There will be gradual increases over the next two years until it hits $19.96 per hour in 2025.
How the rule affects the way apps pay delivery workers
To meet this minimum pay rate increase, New York City’s new law will allow some flexibility in the way apps pay their workers:
- For apps that pay workers for the entire time they spend connected to the app (including time spent waiting for trip offers and traveling), they must pay approximately $0.30 per minute.
- For apps that only pay for the trip time of workers (from accepting a delivery offer up to drop off), they must pay $0.50 per minute of the trip time.
These new pay adjustment rules don’t affect any tips the delivery worker can earn.
Because these new rules effectively set a minimum wage for New York City’s food delivery workers, they have a right to fair pay. Suppose their employers insist on continuing to pay low wages or decide to dock tips to make up for the increased salary. In such cases, workers should consider legal action with the help of a lawyer experienced in employment regulations. A lawyer can help workers file a complaint to the U.S. Department of Labor over the wage issue or even represent them in a lawsuit to claim back pay.